I decided to write this post to show you a good example of reframing. The clinical term for this is “cognitive restructuring” and it involves adapting our thoughts in order to make them work for us rather than against us. We can choose what we want to think so it makes sense to choose a thought that will lead you to feeling happier instead of a thought that makes you feel downright miserable.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy works on the premise that it is the content of our thoughts that leads to our moods. If we focus on negative thoughts and don’t try to balance them out by looking for rational alternatives, we will tend to lead a poorer quality of life. Reframing takes practise – first you need to be aware of your ‘mental diet’: what are you ‘feeding’ yourself in terms of your thoughts? Identify the negative thoughts and then always ask yourself, “Is there another way to look at this? What can I tell myself that will make this situation (my perception of the situation) less upsetting?”
So here is my example:
I was born with Cystic Fibrosis (CF). It is a debilitating disease and many don’t live past the age of thirty years old. My mother had CF and passed away in 2000 at the age of 50. The gene affected by CF controls the movement of salt and water in and out of cells. People with cystic fibrosis experience a build-up of thick sticky mucus in the lungs, digestive system (pancreas) and other organs, causing a wide range of challenging symptoms affecting the entire body.
When I was younger, I hated my body and felt inadequate and inferior to ‘normal’ healthy others. Of course, this type of thinking wasn’t at all helpful and left me feeling miserable and down in the dumps. It had taken many years but these days I really respect my body. It has had to cope with more than the average healthy body and is still going strong. When I began to look at my body in this new way, I felt much happier and even proud of my body. If you have any ailments or illnesses, especially if you have managed them for years – develop a newfound respect for your amazing body. It has coped with a lot and deserves love and respect!
We are all unique in our own way, we don’t have to compete – we are all valuable and worthy in our own way.